U.K. bedroom-pop wiz Ben Esser is only 23, but he attacks his work with the quality and layered diligence of a much more seasoned musician. Braveface, his debut record, sees the troubadour exploring elements of pop structures, hip-hop playfulness, and Brit-pop attitude with varied results that are more often than not reminiscent of weirdo alt-star Beck. Opener “Leaving Town” is all sassy rock n’ roll, while the title track recalls the Stone Roses' Ian Brown. Elsewhere, bleeping electro punctuates tracks like “Headlights” and “Work It Out.” For pure pop escapism, Braveface is your portal, but if you’re looking for something a little headier you’ll have to dig a bit deeper.
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